Asteroid poised to make close fly-by of Earth

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By Everton Gayle
Asteroid poised to make close fly-by of Earth

A large asteroid is poised to make a close pass to Earth on April 19.

The mass of rock, named JO25, is set to come within 1.1 million miles of the planet, or about five times the distance from the earth to the moon (lunar distance).

Measuring about 650 metres wide, it should be visible to enthusiasts with small telescopes.

It can also be followed live on specialized websites like Slooh.

According to NASA, the asteroid will be twice as reflective as the moon and should be visible for no more than two nights.

“The asteroid will approach Earth from the direction of the sun and will become visible in the night sky after April 19,” said NASA.

“It is predicted to brighten to about magnitude 11, when it could be visible in small optical telescopes for one or two nights before it fades as the distance from Earth rapidly increases.

“Small asteroids pass within this distance of Earth several times each week, but this upcoming close approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size, or larger, since asteroid Toutatis, a 5km asteroid, which approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004, the agency added.